Friday 6 February 2015

Managing My Mind: A New Years Resolution - guest post by Jeffrey Hollender

This is a guest post from Jeffrey Hollender.

My mind is usually unmanaged. Within the boundaries of my memory and consciousness, thoughts arise, and memories flow. I worry about what I’m going to say to someone tomorrow, whether I left a document in my hotel room or the plane will arrive on time for me to make my connection. My mind acts as if it were it’s own master.

Other times,  I catch the eye of a passing stranger, setting off an imaginary story. The suitcase of a fellow passenger runs unpleasantly over my toe. The cover of The New York Times causes me to shake my head in disgust. The sun casts a gentle glow on a child’s forehead as he smiles at a puppy and I take in the unexpected wonder of life.

There is a third option. It is one I tend to forget. It involves intention. Nothing wrong with following where the flow of life takes you, unless you have a specific destination in mind. As they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

The flow of life often takes me to worry, sadness or a sense of unease. I see the glass as half empty. What’s missing? Where am I not going? These are reasonable thoughts, but they don’t help me be who I want to be. They usually cause me to bounce around the past to destinations I’ve already visited too many times.

With intention, I can look for the child smiling at a puppy, the exceptional colors of a sunrise, remember our family vacation, or indulge in the knowledge of just how fortunate and blessed I am. It’s my choice. Most often it’s a choice I don’t make, leaving my mind unmanaged.

My unmanaged mind will take the shadow of darkness that arises at the end of the day as the sun goes down and weave it into a remembered sense of depression. Sometimes I can’t escape it, but most often if I close my eyes and picture my youngest daughter hugging my as tight as she’s able, for five minutes, my mood will shift. Her memory reminds me I’m never alone. I was alone as a child. But that was then and this is now.

My New Year’s resolution is to take better care of managing my mind. Be intentional. Less reactive. More conscious.

About Jeffrey Hollender.

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